Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

More than 30,000 photos of scientists and their work

Attention ESVA Patrons:

The Emilio Segrè Visual Archives’ site is moving soon and adopting an open access approach to digital image sharing. Once we have transitioned to the new site in 2021, we will no longer charge for our high-resolution digital images or usage fees (note that we do not hold copyright to all the images in our collections and you will still need to obtain permission for those which we do not own).

If you are working on a long-term project, we advise you to wait until the migration is complete so that you may obtain our copies for free. If you cannot wait, email us at nbl [at] aip.org and we will do what we can to assist you. We will not be offering refunds for past purchases.

For more information, please visit our FAQ page on the Ex Libris Universum blog. 

Brookhaven National Laboratory F14

Share This


Brookhaven National Laboratory F14

How will you use this image ?
Select one of the following options.
Individual Use
Not-for-profit Use
For-profit Use (educational only)
Not sure yet

We charge a usage fee per photo if the photo is published, reproduced in a product or publicly exhibited. This is not a license in the legal sense. As a non-profit institution, we do not make any money providing these photographs. It is only by assessing usage fees that we are able to cover the cost of providing publication quality copies of our photos, preserving the photograph collection according to archival standards, and providing access to the collection by maintaining an online image database. The copyright holder may charge a fee in addition to our service fee.

Images are for use in educational projects only and must be used in a respectful manner.

Image title: 
The 80-inch liquid hydrogen bubble chamber
Credit line: 
Photo courtesy Brookhaven National Laboratory. For Publication Permission Request contact Jane Koropsak, BNL-Media and Communications, [email protected], Tel: 631-344-4909

The 80-inch liquid hydrogen bubble chamber: the stainless steel chamber (80 inches long by 26 inches high by 27 inches deep), which contains 900 liters of liquid hydrogen at a temperature of -414 degrees F, is surrounded by a vacuum chamber, large magnet coils, and a massive steel magnet yoke. The magnet, which requires 4 million watts of electrical power, provides a uniform magnetic field throughout the chamber of 20,000 gauss. The magent and vacuum chamber can be opened to provide access to the chamber. The entire 450-ton chamber and magnet assembly can be translated, rotated, and elevated as required by the experimental program.

One side of the chamber consists of a glass window 6.5 inches thick through which the chamber is illuminated and photographed. As a pulse of highly energetic particles from the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron are guided magnetically into the chamber, the liquid hydrogen is superheated by a sudden reduction in pressure. The charged particles entering the chamber or produced in the chamber by nuclear interactions between the bombarding particles and the hydrogen nuclei (protons) cause the superheated liquid hydrogen to boil leaving a track of tiny bubbles to mark their paths. The magnetic field in the chamber deflects the charged particles and causes them to move in curved paths.

By measuring the curvature, length, and density of the tracks, scientists can determine the electric charge, momentum, mass, and other properties of the particles.

The light source for illuminating the chamber and the three automatic cameras which photograph the tracks are located in the lower gallery. A technician is seen removing one of the cameras. Vacuum equipment, as well as the chamber expansion system, are located on the upper gallery and on top of the chamber. The hydraulic ran which moves the chamber is shown at the lower left.

Photo date: 
circa 1964
Original format: 
2 photographic prints (black and white; 10 x 8 inches)
Brookhaven National Laboratory